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Shrimp fishery gains MSC certification

The Norwegian shrimp fishery in the Barents Sea is now MSC certified as sustainable. This certification can gain Norwegian shrimps entry into several important markets.

DNV (Det Norske Veritas) has undertaken the certification on commission from the Norwegian Seafood Council.

Nofima Scientist Edgar Henriksen has participated in the group that worked on the certification of the shrimp fishery. His task was to study whether the Norwegian management system for the shrimp fishery satisfie the requirements of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).

“The conclusion is that the stock of shrimp in cold water is in excellent form, that the degree of exploitation is moderate to low and the effects of this fishery on other species and the ecosystem in the Barents Sea is limited,” says Henriksen.

“The shrimp fishery received three conditions for the certification, including that the catch control rule is improved. In other words, that the authorities ensure there are clear procedures regarding which measures must be implemented if the stock diminishes significantly.”

Sustainability and environment

MSC is a global certification organisation that has developed an environmental standard for sustainable fisheries. The organisation has developed an ecolabel, which certified producers may use on their products.

The label “guarantees” that the seafood is produced in a sustainable manner and that the fish comes from sustainable stocks.

MSC has to date established itself as the most important market for the fishery industry. The reason for this is that the market has attained social aspects and legitimacy among industrial clients, and several supermarket chains demand that the seafood they buy must be MSC approved, particularly in Germany.

“Norwegian companies selling seafood to Europe have to deal with a ‘sea’ of different ecolabels and requirements,” says Director of Research Frode Nilssen at Nofima.

“A research project points to the fact that when it comes to ecolabels and which criteria are the most important there are major differences between the countries which import Norwegian seafood. The notion ‘sustainable’ plays an important role. But many place more perspectives in the notion than we are used to.”

Nofima is carrying out several large research projects to map the significance of such ecolabels, both with respect to professional buyers, in for instance supermarkets, and how the customers in the stores react to them.